Make us your home page
Instagram

Owner of former Parkview Hotel plans holistic health hub

Mark Tong plans a center like one he is involved with in Oldsmar.

LARA CERRI | Times

Mark Tong plans a center like one he is involved with in Oldsmar.

ST. PETERSBURG — Monica Abbott has seen plenty while gazing out her window at the 95-year-old Mediterranean revival hotel across the street.

When the three-story building at 7401 Central Ave. was run as a low-cost hotel she saw cops breaking up fights and people coming and going at all hours of the night.

When it was under new ownership in 2007, she saw the dignified Parkview Hotel sign go up, a manicured lawn and construction workers. After the renovation came to a halt in 2011, Abbott watched a decaying building, overgrown grass and for-sale signs coming and going.

In recent weeks she has seen members of the SWAT team, with canines in tow, swarming the building. "I saw that and didn't know what was happening over there now," Abbott said.

Turns out the long empty, 40,000-square-foot hotel has been used recently as a training ground for police officers.

"That type of training usually involves an officer going room to room in a re-enactment of some sort of shooter scenario," said Mike Puetz, police spokesman. "It requires a vacant structure where there isn't going to be a lot of pedestrian traffic walking by."

Schools are often used for such training in the summer because they are empty, Puetz said. All officers go through training at least once a year, Puetz said.

But the empty structure that was once the elegant Crystal Bay Hotel won't be a backdrop for room-clearing exercises with guns and dogs much longer.

Owner Mark Tong said he is renovating it with plans to open a hotel for guests who want to take part in cancer prevention programs.

"You will see an increase in (construction) activity at the property over the next few weeks," he said.

The refurbished hotel will house a medical clinic similar to one Tong is involved with in Oldsmar called Utopia Wellness. It offers alternative treatments such as intravenous vitamin therapy, colon cleansing, lymphatic massage, and treatments that fortify the body's immune system after chemotherapy.

Most services aren't covered by insurance because they are not traditional, its website states. Clients receive a customized regimen of treatments that averages $2,500 a week.

Tong did not disclose when he thinks the hotel could reopen as a health clinic. His Crystal Bay Properties paid $590,000 for the property in 1996 and sold it for $2.4 million in 2004 and again for $3.5 million in 2007. Both buyers defaulted and ownership reverted to Crystal Bay Properties. Tong has had it on the market in recent years but has had no takers.

In its heyday as the Crystal Bay Hotel supposedly hosted luminaries like Glenn Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth and Robert Kennedy.

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at kssmith@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8785.

Owner of former Parkview Hotel plans holistic health hub 11/07/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 8, 2013 2:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]